Acts 19:33 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Acts 19:33, NIV: "The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people."

Acts 19:33, ESV: "Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd."

Acts 19:33, KJV: "And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people."

Acts 19:33, NASB: "Some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander, since the Jews had put him forward; and having motioned with his hand, Alexander was intending to make a defense to the assembly."

Acts 19:33, NLT: "The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak."

Acts 19:33, CSB: "Some Jews in the crowd gave instructions to Alexander after they pushed him to the front. Motioning with his hand, Alexander wanted to make his defense to the people."

What does Acts 19:33 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

For three years (Acts 20:31), Paul has been in Ephesus, drawing people to the kingdom of God. He has freed people from all over the province from physical ailments and demon possession. Many are led to salvation in Christ. As the people realize Paul speaks the truth about their need for reconciliation with God, they burn their magic spells and abandon their gods (Acts 19:8–12, 17–20).

A silversmith named Demetrius meets with the local craftsmen. He doesn't particularly care that Paul has power to heal and expel demons. What he resents is that the more people follow him, the fewer idols and shrines he and the craftsmen can sell. Their businesses are at risk. The only way to regain control is to remind Ephesus how much the worship of Artemis defines them. They go into the street, chanting "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" (Acts 19:28). A mob forms behind them. Someone finds Paul's traveling companions, Gaius and Aristarchus, and drags them along as the crowd fills the theater (Acts 19:23–29).

Unbeknownst to Demetrius, Paul tries to push his way through, perhaps thinking if only he can explain the saving power of Jesus, the mob might let his friends go. People from the church as well as high-ranking district officials hold him back. The crowd finds Alexander, instead (Acts 19:30–31).

It's unclear who Alexander is. That he comes from "the Jews" suggests he's a member of the synagogue and does not follow Jesus. If so, it's possible God doesn't allow him to speak because he would encourage the crowd's violence against the church. The crowd shouts him down and continues shouting for two hours. Eventually, the city clerk arrives and disperses the crowd (Acts 19:34–41).